Holiday Gift Guide 2022: Beauty Edition
Give your loved ones glowing skin, a stunning scent, or quite possibly the most perfect polish ever made
The holidays can be beautiful, and you and your giftees can be beautiful for the holidays with any one of these beauty collections below. Some were launched as a passion project, while others were born out of a need to fill an aesthetic or dermatological void in the vast world of beauty. Either way, TheCovey has found some fragrance, skincare, and makeup gems that make perfect gifts.
Scents With Benefits
Where to start with this collection of stunning fragrances from former top corporate beauty executive Veronique Gabai-Pinsky? After years of building fragrances for designers including Michael Kors and Giorgio Armani, and a stint running Vera Wang, Gabai pursued her dream and created her own fragrance house. The Veronique Gabai collection, which includes 14 refillable eau de parfums, stands apart from other brands thanks to its Aroma collection, which boasts a higher concentration of essential oils in its three eau de parfums than in traditional perfumes — Body, Heart, and Soul — and three essential oil roll-ons bearing the same name. The result is sophisticated perfumery combined with the well-being benefits inherent in aromatherapy. A study by Immersion, a neuroscience and neuromarketing platform, to measure the effects of the Aroma scents on users revealed that 58 percent of them experienced an increase in their emotional engagement. Gabai describes her collection as “sunshine for the senses and the soul,” inspired by the surroundings in which she grew up in Antibes Juan-les-Pins on France’s Côte d’Azur. The clear or blue bottles, gold caps, and gold details of the collection reflect the sunlight, blue sky, and crystalline waters that Gabai cherishes. And the caps have ceramic interiors, allowing them to act as diffusers. The range also features items such as a highlighting makeup stick, a candle, and perfume pendants and matching chains in precious metals. Go for the Discovery Collection Set with 12 1.5 ML travel-size sprays, $78, or splurge for an eau de parfum, $260-$300 for 85 ML.
Jena Covello founded Agent Nateur as an organic and holistic skin care brand. After enduring multiple surgeries and health setbacks due to endometriosis and adenomyosis diagnosed when she was just 23, she turned to holistic medicine, which became the foundation of her Agent Nateur brand. Her first product is the best selling uni(sex)NOs aluminum-free deodorant, $21. Skin care came next, and now Covello has returned to body care with the new holi (wash) ageless resurfacing body cleanser with the gentle exfoliant lactic acid, $48, and body (balm) ageless body treatment cream with plant extracts, hydrating oils, and several patented anti-aging ingredients, including PhytoSpherix, $95. Nothing like a hot bath or shower to calm one’s nerves during the end of year festivities.
Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your (Gorgeously Repaired) Hair
Give the gift of healthy hair this year with K18, a biomimetic peptide that restores hair by reconnecting broken polypeptide chains in the human keratin genome. Say what? Ten years of biotech research created K18, which restores hair by penetrating hair’s inner layer, as opposed to conditioning the surface, or using treatments that reach hair slightly below its surface. All proven by clinical trials, K18’s effectiveness has been described as “retinol for hair.” This four-minute treatment comes from the duo Britta Cox and Suveen Sahib who, years ago, created the super effective Aquis hair-drying towel. We like the gift combo of the regular-sized K18 repair hair mask and mini-sized Peptide Prep detox clarifying shampoo, $75.
From the Science Lab to Your Vanity
Skincare goodies from a mad scientist? Sign me up. Mad, because cellular biologist Wendy Ouriel’s skin broke out and became damaged after she tried high-end anti-aging products in the midst of earning her master’s degree. Anti-acne products frustratingly seemed to make things worse. So Ouriel used her smarts to create Oumere, a skincare range that relies mainly on naturally sourced ingredients, including plant extracts, plant seed oils and extracts, and plant-derived acids. The name “Oumere” comes from combining Ouriel with “telomere,” an area at the end of chromosomes that hosts DNA sequences. If you want to splurge, go for the Oumere Collection Set, $650, which features all five of the brand’s products meant to be used as part of a skincare regimen. If you had to choose only one item, Oumere’s No. 9 Daily Liquid Exfoliant, $90, is a great option. Just be sure to read Oumere’s application directions. The exfoliant is to be patted, not spread, on the face. And it has to rest 30 minutes prior to applying other creams or makeup.
Leave it to French luxury house Hermès to have nail polish as perfect as its Kelly bag. The Les Mains Hermès nail polish collection is displayed in the shimmering beauty alcove within Hermès’ new Madison Avenue flagship store in Manhattan. Inside, flanked by the colorful transparent bottles of Hermès fragrances, one finds the company’s small but beautiful collection of color-cosmetics: refillable lipsticks, “complexion balms,” powder and blush, and an army of nail polish in 16 deeply pigmented colors, not including seasonal special editions (above). Even the bottles, designed by Pierre Hardy, who creates the jewelry and footwear for the label, are gorgeous. The polish, $45, boasts 70 percent natural ingredients and has great lasting power. Since you asked, the walls of the alcove are adorned with one layer of silver leaf, one layer of white gold leaf, and 22 layers of lacquered enamel paint applied and textured by hand. Bien sur. The new Hermès store is definitely worth a visit should you be in New York.
Ice, Ice, Baby
Give the gift of facial cryotherapy that you can do at home! Cue Ameon Skincare, founded by breast cancer survivor Alina Mehrle, who is also cofounder and principal of New York City’s Asthetique design studio. Mehrle’s cancer diagnosis came when she was 30 years old. Eight rounds of chemotherapy wreaked havoc on her skin, leaving it fragile and very dry. Like other independent beauty founders, Mehrle set out to make her own gentle yet effective skincare since available products didn’t help her skin. Over two years, Mehrle developed a three-step “cryoritual,” which includes ice cubes (packaged in liquid form) infused with plant extracts and acids, along with mineral complexes or powders, which you freeze at home. There are also two serums, and the Holy Cream Diamond moisturizer, with, yes, diamond powder, along with hyaluronic acid, plant oils and extracts, and other ingredients. Products are sold alone, or you can buy sets with all three products. The Radiance Set, $220, is recommended for dry, hyperpigmented, and dull skin, while the Retreat Set, $215, targets irritated, acne-prone and oily skin. Ameon won the skin care award at the 2022 edition of Cosmoprof, the beauty industry’s key trade show.
Jasmine in a Jar
With TheCovey’s emphasis on female entrepreneurship, we like to feature products from female founded or run companies in our gift guides. But every now and then the guys come up with great ideas. Take Clark’s Botanicals, a plant-based skin care line from Francesco Clark who developed the range following a 2002 diving accident that broke his spine, leaving him paralysed from the neck down, and unable to sweat. The latter left his skin dry, acne-prone and basically a mess, and nothing in stores seemed to help. With his father, an MD and homeopath, he developed a product that would treat and moisturize his skin, since his skin could no longer treat itself. Clark launched the Smoothing Marine Cream, $115, the perennial best-selling, often out of stock moisturizer with Jasmine Absolute as the key ingredient, thanks to its anti-bacterial, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. His cream was so effective that Clark got support at the get go from top fashion editors, notably Glenda Bailey, the former editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar, who was the first to sample Clark’s cream. An endorsement also came from Michelle Obama, among other notable women. Clark’s recently relaunched with even “cleaner” formulations, the more concentrated Jasmine Catalyst Complex™, and packaging that’s more environmentally responsible. The company has four gift sets ready for giving. Why not go for the Anti-Aging Power Couple gift set, $172, which includes the Retinol Rescue Overnight Cream, Deep Moisture Mask, Jasmine Vital Cream Deluxe Mini, and two Ultra Rich Lip Balm Travel Minis in a CB clear bag.
When two Harvard Business School friends and graduates KJ Miller and Amanda Johnson couldn’t find nude-colored lipsticks suitably tinted for women of color, they decided to make their own. They founded Mented in 2017 and have since expanded the company into a color-cosmetics collection with the goal of creating a fully-inclusive beauty range. Mented comes from the word “pigmented,” and Mented’s colors of eyeshadow, lipsticks and glosses, and blush and bronzers are stunning, from shimmering gold and peach, to browns and burgundy. If you’re buying a gift for yourself, take advantage of Mented’s free 20-minute virtual complexion consultation. Shopping for someone else? Mented offers bundles of makeup, such as the Gloss for Grown Ups Collection, $37.50, with four lip glosses. There are also gift sets, and we like the Just the Basics, $52.50, which includes Mented’s foundation stick, blush, mascara, and lip balm.